May 8, 2015 — Pfizer has been hit with over 2,000 lawsuits involving patients who developed type-2 diabetes after taking Lipitor for the treatment of high cholesterol.
Over 500 lawsuits have been filed this year alone, bringing the total number of lawsuits in the federal court system to 2,185. Hundreds of additional lawsuits are also pending in various state courts around the nation.
The cases are centralized in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2502) in South Carolina, overseen by U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel.
According to a joint status report filed on April 16, attorneys are still exchanging evidence and questioning witnesses.
As more people come forward to seek compensation and justice for their disease, attorneys are preparing a select number of cases for the first “bellwether” trials in November. If the jury decides to award compensation, it can help expedite the settlement process for other people with similar injuries.
All of the lawsuits accuse Pfizer of failing to adequately warn about the risk of diabetes. In January 2012, JAMA published a study linking the use of cholesterol-lowering statins with a 50% increased risk of diabetes among post-menopausal women. One month later, the FDA ordered Pfizer to update the label on Lipitor to add warnings about increased blood-sugar levels.
Lipitor (atorvastatin) is the most popular member of a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. After it was approved in 1997, Lipitor quickly became the world’s top-selling drug, generating over $120 billion in sales before its patent expired in 2011.